Posted by: westlancashirerecord | July 13, 2016

More Housing Less Greenbelt

The Daily Telegraph reports that more than five million new homes could have to be built in England in the next 25 years to cope with the impact of the ageing population, immigration and the singleton lifestyle, new Government estimates suggest. Projections of the likely number of households produced by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) dclglogo have been revised upward since the last estimate two years ago to include another 4,000 a year or 100,000 over a quarter of a century. And guess who will be in the driving seat? Housing developers, naturally! And how many developments will have modern sewage systems?

In a recent case at Waverley Borough Council Waverley residents fighting a development write “We are extremely disappointed to confirm that the Planning Inspectorate has upheld the Appeal submitted by Berkeley Homes for 425 dwellings on green fields South of Cranleigh High Street. The main reason cited is that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks and yet again as Waverley do not have the required 5-year housing supply our village and our green fields have absolutely no protection. We again have been advised that Waverley’s Local Plan has suffered yet another delay, meaning that Cranleigh and the surrounding villages remain the dumping ground for housing for the entire borough for the foreseeable future. Building on the Berkeley’s site must commence within 2 years. We can’t wait to see what Thames Water is going to do with their sewage in that time as their system is already at capacity”.

Overall the DCLG estimates that, if current rates continue, the number of households in England will have grown by an average of 210,000 per year over the period from 2014 to 2039. By that time households would be 14 per cent smaller on average as a result of couples having fewer children and a trend towards living alone, family breakdown and more widows or widowers.

There would also be fewer young families, with the number of households headed by someone aged between 25 and 34 set to fall by 9,000 per year in that time or 225,000 over the period. Statisticians suggested ageing would be the biggest single factor driving the growth in households and therefore housing demand. The number of households headed by someone over 65 is expected to rise by 155,000 per year until 2039 – almost three quarters of the projected average rise. Immigration is the second biggest factor driving the projected growth accounting for 37 per cent of new housing demand, just ahead of the rising number of single-person households.

But the estimates are based on official population growth projections produced last year, which do not therefore take account of the vote to leave the European Union, a decision likely to reduce net immigration depending on what form of deal is eventually negotiated. Nevertheless, the pressure group Migration Watch UK migrationlogo argued that the new projections underplay the real effect of immigration on housing demand because they are based on a lower estimate of likely net immigration than has been the case in recent years.

Lord Green of Deddington, Chairman of Migration Watch UK said “Yet again government officials are playing down the impact of immigration on household demand. Today’s DCLG publication focuses only on the principal projection of net migration to England of 170,000 rather than the high migration scenario of 233,000 which is much closer to the average of the last ten years which is 220,000 a year.

“That scenario confirms that we will need to provide a new home every five minutes to accommodate future arrivals. This is 45 per cent of all of the new homes needed. Demand for new housing has constantly been underestimated and unmet. It is now crystal clear that, if the housing crisis is to be eased, the new government must get immigration sharply down.”

A DCLG spokesman said “We have got Britain building again with the latest figures showing that new homes are up by 25 per cent over the past year. And we are getting the homes built that people want. We have doubled the housing budget and ensured local residents come first when it comes to social housing by introducing a two-year residency test”.

In response to a parliamentary question (HL610) the ONS has calculated that 66 percent of the 1.96 million increase in households from the 2001 census to the 2011 census had a foreign-born household reference person and 34% had a UK-born household reference person (ONS letter March 2015). It was noted earlier that the 2001 and 2011 LFS data on country of birth were anomalous and give an implausibly high percent of foreign-born HRP. Instead, for comparison we have chosen the average of the LFS data from the neighbouring pair of years of 2000 -2010 and 2002-2012. That calculation gives 63% of household growth over the decade from households with an immigrant HRP and 37% from households with a UK-born HRP. That is a reasonable fit with the census data.

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